The Legal Beat
Penn Decided ‘Inviting White Nationalists To Campus’ Only Earned Amy Wax A Pay Cut… She Appealed Anyway
Posted on Thursday February 22, 2024
The University of Pennsylvania had every reason to fire law professor Amy Wax for years. What with the whole leveling baseless allegations insulting Black students at the law school, explaining that America needed fewer Asians, and inviting white supremacists to campus stuff.
The school, belatedly, took action and referred the matter to the Faculty Senate. After conducting its investigation, the hearing board issued its confidential recommendation. Then Wax appealed and we’ve been in limbo ever since.
The Daily Pennsylvanian has now confirmed the details of the original hearing board recommendations:
The recommended sanctions against Wax included a one-year suspension at half pay, the removal of her named chair and summer pay, and a requirement for Wax to note in public appearances that she is not speaking on behalf or as a member of Penn Carey Law.
The hearing board decided that the University should issue a public reprimand of Wax, but did not suggest she should be fired or stripped of tenure, according to the Inquirer. Wax’s appeal of the ruling prompted a full Faculty Senate process, the Inquirer reported.
Half pay. For a year.
Honestly, what does a professor have to do to lose their job?
Her “scholarship” at this point amounts to newspaper articles about “superior” white culture and presenting at white nationalism conferences. And while academic freedom protects scholars espousing unpopular views, even the most expansive interpretation of academic freedom shrinks from professors citing Wikipedia for their core claims. In fact, there’s a pretty good argument that the blanket of academic freedom doesn’t cover going on a podcast to rant because your theories couldn’t survive peer review.
But the school didn’t even have to get into Wax’s academic work after she started belittling students based on race and bringing the white supremacist set to campus. At that point, Amy Wax, the university employee, embarked on discriminatory behavior that warranted dismissal regardless of whatever she does as Amy Wax, the academic.
Seriously, is there anything that can get academics to put real teeth into protecting their profession?
Penn hearing board recommended sanctions against Amy Wax, prompting ongoing appeal [Daily Pennsylvanian]
Earlier: Past Amy Wax Coverage
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.